Featured: Burundian bishops set foot in electoral plate

Often criticized for its reserve and its legendary slowness, this time, the Catholic Church of Burundi was quick “Exclaims the Burundian news site Iwacu. Twenty four hours after the announcement of the results of the presidential election, ” the burden is severe. According to the bishops, the triple ballot of May 20 is devoid of ‘elements which should characterize truly democratic elections’. The prelates list ‘injustices’ and ‘many irregularities with regard to the freedom and transparency of the electoral process as well as fairness in the treatment of candidates and voters’. (…) Among other irregularities noted by the successors of Saint-Pierre, the constraints exerted on certain agents to sign in advance the minutes of the counting of the contents of the ballot boxes, the stuffing of certain ballot boxes, the vote in place of the deceased and refugees and multiple and therefore invalid proxies.

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Terrible indictment

And that’s not all, still points Iwacu. Catholic bishops also regret that there were voters in some polling stations who voted more than once. They condemn the exclusion of agents and observers from the places where the votes are counted, the intimidation and constraints exerted on voters by certain administrative officials who accompanied them to the voting booths.

In short, ” a terrible indictment, exclaims Iwacu. (…) The Catholic bishops call for calm and recommend to all those who feel that their rights have been violated to privilege authorized ways to be restored to their rights. (…) The prelates are also surprised that people are ‘persecuted’ for political reasons and call on the public authorities to put an end to it. And they finally recall that the multiparty system is recognized in Burundi.

And Iwacu to conclude : ” the Catholic Church therefore quickly chose to take a stand and play its role of moral authority. As a reminder, around 63% of Burundians recognize themselves in the Catholic Church, according to the general population census of 2008.

The power of generals

Africa point, for its part, insists on the military character of Burundian power. The new president, Évariste Ndayishimiye, is a general. ” Its designation is the result of a compromise, says Le Point Afrique, between President Nkurunziza and the small group of generals from the former Hutu rebellion who control with him all the levers of power. The head of state, who would have preferred a civilian, Pascal Nyabenda, the president of the National Assembly, gave in to these generals determined to keep a soldier at the top of power. Évariste Ndayishimiye, who is not part of this group of generals, is therefore indebted to them and could find it difficult to emancipate themselves.

Yet still falls Africa point, Évariste Ndayishimiye would be ” someone simple, close to the people, rather tolerant, little corrupt. “He has a reputation for openness and honesty unlike other generals,” deciphers a diplomat who knows the mysteries of Burundian power. “It was the best choice, but he will have a lot to do to drive change and openness to opposition in a party dominated by an extremist and sectarian current.”


In any case, things are clearsighs The country in Burkina. Power remains the preserve of the military in Burundi, so much so that it is difficult to hope for the establishment of a true democracy in this country. It is as if the cases of Algeria and Sudan, for example, where the military nomenklatura had the upper hand over everything, have not served as lessons in the power of Bujumbura. (…) If countries like Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, or Chad, to cite only these examples, have trouble with their democracy, continues the Burkinabe daily, it is because they are led by soldiers who, accustomed to the paneling of power, refuse to imagine another life outside the presidential palaces. And it’s unfortunately the danger that awaits Burundi, concludes The Country, where obviously the men in lattice have only one concern: to defend their interests and other privileges, even at the risk of the democracy and the rule of law.

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